Students unveil Saltman Quarterly

    While UCSD boasts student publications ranging from literary journals to humor newspapers to entertainment magazines, its newest publication is purely scientific. Students unveiled the inaugural online issue of UCSD’s first undergraduate research journal, the Saltman Quarterly, at http://www.biology.ucsd.edu/sq on April 27. Editors hope to release the print version on May 14 to coincide with a poster session highlighting the work of undergraduate biology students. The current online version features original research articles written and reviewed by undergraduates.

    According to its editors, the creation of an undergraduate research journal at UCSD follows developments at Harvard, UC Berkeley and a host of other universities that have recently introduced new venues to recognize the contributions of student research projects to the growing corpus of academic knowledge. The Saltman Quarterly, however, focuses exclusively on biological sciences research.

    The first issue of the journal includes four reviews and three original articles ranging from gene therapy to geriatrics with a strong showing from the neurosciences.

    Editors said they were pleased with the number of submissions, which were solicited from UCSD undergraduates working in biology-related fields or other undergraduates working in labs associated with UCSD.

    Editors said they hope the Saltman Quarterly will provide a new outlet for students.

    “A lot of people don’t have enough [material] for Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences or Nature but have enough to tell a story,” said Louis Nguyen, co-editor in chief of the Saltman Quarterly. “They’re often not given the merit they deserve for their work.”

    Undergraduate student Jennifer Hsieh, lead author of one of the original research papers, said she wanted to share the results of her study, funded by the American Heart Association, with her classmates before graduating. In the Saltman Quarterly, she published her findings that age and nicotine intake affect systolic blood pressure independently from exercise level and calcium intake.

    The paper’s editors hope to continue receiving strong submissions from undergraduates pursuing academic research.

    Co-editor in chief Marika Orlov said she hopes the journal will soon be searchable via PubMed, the National Library of Medicine’s search service.

    “[Broader recognition] would validate our work,” Orlov said.

    The difficulty for the editorial board, Orlov said, lies in harmonizing a desire to include as many undergraduate research projects as possible while maintaining high standards of publication in the journal.

    “We have to find a balance on a case-by-case basis,” Orlov said.

    The editors require that the student-author’s principal investigator review and approve the submission before it is accepted. According to Gregory Emmanuel, the third co-editor in chief, this ensures a level of excellence in research.

    The paper is named after Paul Saltman, who taught biology to UCSD undergraduates before his death in 1999. Saltman started the biology teaching assistant program and involved students in working on projects funded by his endowment of the department of biological sciences. The publication derives all its funding from this endowment via the department.

    The Saltman Quarterly is currently soliciting submissions for its next issue and recruiting staff members to replace those graduating.

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